NHL Playoffs Game 7 Odds, Pick & Preview: Penguins vs. Rangers (May 15)

NHL Playoffs Game 7 Odds, Pick & Preview: Penguins vs. Rangers (May 15) article feature image

Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Players from the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers compete.

  • The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers are set for Game 7 on Sunday.
  • The Rangers haven't won a playoff series since 2017, but our expert believes that will change today.
  • Carol Schram breaks down the matchup and shares a best bet.

Penguins vs. Rangers Game 7 Odds

Penguins Odds+120
Rangers Odds-145
Over/Under6.5 (+100/-120)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell will all be game-time decisions for the Pittsburgh Penguins as their juicy first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers reaches its climax on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Despite injuries to their top two goaltenders, the Penguins built a 3-1 series lead and looked set to advance until Crosby was knocked out of Game 5 with a reported concussion. Seizing the moment, the Rangers charged back. They have avoided elimination twice and set up a winner-take-all Game 7.

There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Penguins' lineup, but here's a look at what we've learned so far in this series and a best bet for Game 7.

Pittsburgh Penguins

A two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP, Crosby had elevated his game once again before his injury. Simply put, he was the catalyst for the Penguins' success in the series.

After Crosby left Game 5 with his injury, his rattled teammates squandered a 2-0 lead and finished with a 5-3 loss.

Then, with a second chance to advance on Friday night, the game unfolded almost identically: the Rangers erased a 2-0 Pittsburgh lead, the Penguins tied it and New York scored late to keep its playoff hopes alive.

Of course, Crosby's history makes any head injury a concern. It's a positive sign that he skated Friday and took part in Saturday's optional practice.

"He's doing his very best to get himself back and ready as quickly as he can," coach Mike Sullivan said. "We'll see how that process goes."

Then, there's Jarry, who has been sidelined for the past month with a broken bone in his foot. He has been on the ice all this week, slowly ramping up his workload. It's certainly a lot to ask, but he could be ready to take the net Sunday.

If he does, the change would come in the nick of time. Following Casey DeSmith's injury in Game 1, Louis Domingue has gamely tried to support his team, but his results haven't been up to par. He's now at an .898 save percentage and 3.65 goals-against average for the series, with -3.4 goals saved above expected.

Jarry, of course, had an outstanding regular season and finished the year with 12.8 goals saved above expected.

There's nothing easy about asking a goalie to step into a pressure-packed Game 7 after a month on the sidelines, but the Penguins have been here before as they used multiple stoppers in both their 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup wins.

As for Rakell, he's close to returning from the upper-body injury that knocked him out of Game 1. Brian Boyle was being evaluated Saturday after suffering an unspecified injury in Game 6 and Brian Dumoulin has also missed the past five games with a lower-body issue.

Averaging 4.33 goals per game, the Penguins have been the second-highest-scoring team in the playoffs heading into Saturday's games and only trail Colorado. And even in their losses, the Penguins have done a good job of controlling possession. Pittsburgh leads all teams with an expected goals rate of 62.05% at 5-on-5.

However, special teams have been a concern. The Penguins have gone 0-for-6 with the man advantage in their past two games, while the Rangers have gone 3-for-6 on the power play and are now 5-for-15 in the series.

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New York Rangers

The Rangers owned the Penguins in the regular season, posting a 3-1-0 record and outscoring Pittsburgh 11-4. They were prohibitive favorites heading into the series and at -145 to win Game 7, oddsmakers are pegging the Blueshirts' chance of victory on Sunday at 59.18%.

New York has home-ice advantage and the power of the crowd at the World's Most Famous Arena. New York also has momentum and the confidence that was built from successfully closing out the past two games.

New York also has a power play that's clicking and a balanced scoring attack. With nine points, Adam Fox has reminded us why he was the 2021 Norris Trophy winner. Chris Kreider and Andrew Copp each have four goals. Mika Zibanejad picked a great time to rediscover his scoring touch when he potted his first two goals of the series 76 seconds apart on Friday and abruptly turned a 2-0 Pittsburgh lead into a 2-2 tie.

The Rangers' injury situation is also much more straightforward. Speedy penalty-killerTyler Motte suited up for the first time in Game 6 after missing more than a month with an upper-body injury. That leaves only Barclay Goodrow on the sidelines.

And while Igor Shesterkin hasn't delivered the same Hart Trophy-worthy performances in this series that we saw in the regular season, he has looked more like himself during the past two games. How much did that 79-save performance in Game 1 take out of him? Has he reset to the point where he could step up to steal Game 7?

Penguins vs. Rangers Pick

The Rangers opened as -155 favorites to win Game 7. After Saturday morning's Crosby and Jarry sightings, that number fell to -145 and was even as low as -140 on some sites.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the status of those two key players, this might be a situation where it's worth your while to wait until close to puck drop to get the lay of the land — especially if you're a believer in Pittsburgh's 6-0 all-time record on the road in Game 7's.

Given Crosby's history, it's tempting to believe that if he's in, he could be a game-changer. But will that be enough to overcome the Rangers' advantages?

New York is ahead of schedule on its rebuild. This playoff run is an unexpected bonus, which could help ease some of the pressure that inevitably comes with a winner-take-all situation.

The Rangers are 9-6 all time in Game 7's and winners of 6-of-7 since 2012. That includes a 2-1 second-round win over the Penguins in 2014, the year they went on to the Stanley Cup Final.

Look for the home team to prevail again on Sunday and for the Rangers to win their first playoff series since 2017.

Pick: Rangers moneyline (-145); play down to -155

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